Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It makes me want to hurl...

...the book. What did you think I meant?

I just want to get it out in the open... I hate it when an author brings the couple together finally near the end of the story, but then one of them dies. I'm telling you, this is not what people read romances for. Authors please note: Need! Happy! Ending! I threw one such book across the room. (Apologies to the library for that. Good thing I didn't see the movie--it's hard to throw a theater.)

Yesterday, author of actual books and blogger for Cedar Fort, Jaime Theler, listed 10 pet peeves she has as a reader. (Check them out here, I'm sure you'll agree with her on all counts!)

Anyway, it reminded me of my recent lament after starting a new book and being confronted with awkward writing:

Since becoming a writer, am I ruined as a reader?

I LOOOOOOOVE to read. I've been an avid reader my entire life. See picture of me avidly reading?

But now a writer's eye has joined my reader's eye as I peruse the pages of my latest book selection. I don't just enter the story, I notice how that story is structured and the precise words chosen to tell it.

It's making me crazy! It goes beyond pet peeves to just plain being critical (in a proper, literary, critiquing kind of way, of course.;D). Sure, the sentence may be grammatically correct, but it doesn't sound right, it doesn't flow. Did the author ever read it aloud and really hear it...? These are the kind of comments I make to my husband who is required under our marriage contract to listen patiently to at least two rants per week from his wife (that's in the Utah law books somewhere). He just gets this look that is very easy to read: "So how many books have you published?")

So back to pet peeves...I guess awkward writing that sounds like the author did not read it aloud to hear how it flows is one of my major pet peeves.

What are yours?

And if you don't like this blog post, probably wise to refrain from throwing your computer. Just saying.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Put me out of my misery...

Okay, I'm not really 4th in the library queue to read this...

While on the library site I happened to notice that the "book" I had on hold was really the CD recording version.

Oh, no. That will not do.

I jumped out of that queue into the actual-hardback-book queue and I'm at #71. Oh, and my hold? It expires June 12th of 2010. JUNE 12TH??? I may not get this till June 12th? People, this is serious.

Must. Read. Noooooooooooooow...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Wish I'd Written That

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tinted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted up in prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table with the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the case of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me and when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

--Dr. Bob Morehead

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Route by Gale Sears

Okay, so do you pronounce it route like "rowt" or route like "root"? Of course, people pronounce root two different ways, so that doesn't help. Anyway, for the purposes of this blog and so we're all on the same page, lets just say we're pronouncing it "rowt." Okay, I feel better knowing that is out of the way...

Gale Sears' The Route (remember "rowt") tells the story of a 50-ish (gotta love the -ish) woman who delivers meals to the elderly as a volunteer. Along the way, or rather, along the route, she learns about aging and death, but mostly about how to live. The story is told in first person, which is unusual, and admittedly a bit awkward (for me) at first, but then it totally works. You are right there in the front seat with Carol, the main character, carrying the basket of food, knocking doors, learning when to set it on the table or in the fridge, chatting about ex-husbands, and bracing yourself for ornery Viola's rebuke at the end of the line.

Reading this book was a total flashback for me because I volunteered for a semester with Meals on Wheels years ago when I attended Weber State. It was for college credit and they never let me actually drive or go on my own, but I think some of the people Carol met were the same ones I delivered to! :D Plus I had a visiting teaching route for a while in a nursing home. Now those were some wild times! I could write a book about it...

Anyway, the book was a fun ride. (And don't say you didn't know I was going to use that pun.) It made me ponder the age-old (and that pun, too) questions of why some suffer so much more than others and what can we learn from the elderly in our own lives. How will we treat aging parents when they can no longer adequately care for themselves? Carol changes and grows through her experiences and so do we alongside her.

Author Gale was kind enough to answer my intriguing interview questions: (I feel I can call her Author Gale because as you'll read later, I did meet her once in an elevator.)

>This book seems a departure from what you usually write, what got you excited about this particular work?

>>This book was actually written prior to my trilogy, but it was set on the shelf for a couple of years while I worked on other projects. I loved writing this book because I loved the people I served for two years on my meals-on-wheels route.

>Did the book “write itself” because of your personal experience and knowing the real characters the characters were based on?

>>The story did flow for me because I had so much inspiration from the wonderful seniors on my route. There were some real characters in the mix, as well as brave souls and sweethearts. How could you not love a cranky little 85-year-old who dressed in bright pink keds, fishing hats, and flowered dusters, belted by a man's tie? [Note from Blogger Me: You're right, Gale. By the end of the book I did love her.]

>A blurb on the back of your book by Kerry Blair says, “This is a book to read in one sitting...” How does that make you feel knowing a reader might very well read it in one sitting and you labored over it for...how long did you labor, by the way?

>>It took me about 7 months to get the book to a place I liked, and I don't mind at all when people say they read it in one sitting. It's actually a compliment. For me it means that the story was engaging enough to keep their interest.

>Give me one sentence from your book, no context.

>>"Over several months, Ladora has added a ceramic burro, an ugly Norwegian troll, and two more Chia pets to her collection." [Blogger Me: Dibs on the ugly Norwegian troll.]

Gale Sears is already an accomplished author with The Autumn Sky trilogy: Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. Christmas for a Dollar, a children's picture book, with illustrations by Ben Sowards, will be released in October. Two books in the same year. Sweet! Now back to the questions...

>What’s your current writing project?

>>Currently I'm working on getting my finished novel published. It is historical fiction and take place in 1917 Russia during the Bolshivek Revolution.I'm also working on another Christmas story for publication in 2010.

>Do you remember me running into you in the elevator at the Marriot last April? I’m kidding—you an author of tons of books, me the author of none. What are the chances you would remember me? But what might someone say to you in an elevator that would be memorable?

>>You're so funny. You have to remember that I'm getting old and I barely remember the Marriot. What were we there for, anyway? [Blogger Me: If my memory serves it was the Storymakers conference. I didn't actually introduce myself, but tried to turn just right so you'd be able to read my name tag. I'm kidding, but I did say something inane...can't remember it either.]

Hmm...something memorable? How about, "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Sally Fields?" I'd really laugh at that one.

You're kind to compliment me on having written a few books, but it truly doesn't elevate me above anyone. We're all writers together. Each of us has a story to tell: in letters, journals, personal history, magazine articles, short stories, first chapters, novels, poems...the list could go on and on. Working on our craft is the important thing. [Blogger Me: That's what I tell my kids... "Working on the craft, okay? Give me a minute." Maybe I'll put that on a sign on my office door.]

Anyway, thank you Gale Sears for the interview! And for the rest of you, here's how you can get your hands on this book:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Blog Route

I have been delinquent in my blog book-reviewing duties--awaiting my big day to review (which is tomorrow) and totally forgetting to make you, the dear blog readers, aware of your opportunity to follow the tour, comment, and win the book. Please forgive me (and you, too Author Gale Sears and Publisher Walnut Springs). Fortunately, there's still plenty of time to get your comments posted so you'll be included in the drawing to win this book.

Actually, I'm calling it a blog route this time around because that is the title of the book...

Here are the blogs that have reviewed The Route. Check them out, and be sure to visit me here Friday for my review:

August 24
The Book Nest

August 25
Mormon Hermit Mom's Book Habit

August 26
Boojoos and Aprilcots

August 27
Of Good Report

August 28
Blog the Day Away

August 31
Reading for Sanity

September 1
Lu Ann's Book Review

September 2
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

September 3
Amesbury Reads

September 4
Tangled Words and Dreams

September 7
Labor Day

September 8
Not Entirely British

September 9
Jewel's World

September 10
Rebecca Talley

***September 11***
Of Writerly Things

September 14
Walnut Springs Press

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Page Fright

Do you ever experience page fright?

If you are a writer you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. How often do we let our fears keep us from writing? Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the dust rising another inch on the furniture if we don't get out the Lemon Pledge Furniture Polish and a dust cloth right now instead of writing. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this blog...Go! Now! Dust!

On another blog I read about an intriguing book by Ralph Keyes titled The Courage to Write {How Writers Transcend Fear}. It does take courage, doesn't it? Just the putting so much time and effort into a project without knowing if there will be a successful outcome is a risk in and of itself. Then there's the whole opening yourself up for critique and rejection part of it. Definitely not for the faint-of-heart.

The book deals with such topics as overcoming procrastination, dealing with anxiety over what others will think, and, this is a quote from the website, "how writers use obfuscation to soothe writing nerves." (I don't know what obfuscation means, but it sounds kind of like a procedure performed in a doctor's office involving unwarranted growths being removed from the body and not soothing at all.)

One thing Keyes recommends for overcoming fear is "joining a serious writers' group." His words. I had to laugh because after attending last summer's writing retreat with my group, American Night Writer's Association, one could question our seriousness. Of course, in the sense that he is speaking of, we are serious. Serious about writing and supporting each other in this risk-taking endeavor. I know that if it wasn't for ANWA I might have been content to write newspaper articles, church programs, and my kid's English essays (KIDDING!), never having the courage to take the plunge into novel-writing.

So stare down that blank page and show him/her whose boss. Turn your fears into positive energy that flows right onto the computer screen.

And I'll go look up obfuscation...

[this post is also playing at anwafounder.blogspot.com]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good Book News All Around

Loved this...

Happy to be in the library queue at only #4 to read this...

Then I found out in a blog contest I won this ...

If that wasn't enough I attended my writer's group meeting where awesomeness abounds. The ladies in my group are the best and so encouraging and supportive. They like what I write, so that's a bonus. I shared a part of what is currently chapter 10 where my main character is really discouraged and feeling sorry for herself and goes to the office to talk to the assisstant principal but he can't help her and blah, blah, blah. I know, thrilling isn't it? Now you can't wait to read my story. Someday you'll be blogging/bragging that you're #4 in the queue to read it and ha, ha to everyone else.

Anyway, today Tamara's lesson focused on the negative reasons we tell ourselves that we can't write. I wrote three: 1)I don't have time, 2)If I get started, I'll just have to stop, and 3)I don't know where I'm going next in the story. Next we had to switch our excuses around into a motto that will help us get past these blocks. So to combat numbers 1 and 2, my motto is 5 MINUTES IS 5 MINUTES. This means that even in small snippets of time (okay, so I've never seen a BIG snippet. If there were BIG snippets, I'd be writing in them and my novel would be done by now!) some writing progress can be made. The motto to combat number 3 is DIRECTION COMES AFTER YOU START MOVING. How can I be inspired if I don't sit down to write?

One fellow writer said her big block was the need to clean house. Funny, I didn't think of that one.

When I shared my mottos with my husband he said how about this: GET IT DONE BY SEPTEMBER 31! He acknowledges there are not 31 days in September, but the message is clear, so I'll just go back to my keyboard and wave my magic story wand...

And when I am truly all done I'm going to read Kersten's book Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother. Because I'll need it.


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